Researchers collaborate across disciplines at RAND to evaluate terrorist, military, nuclear, cyber, and other threats to U.S. national security — identifying emerging threats, scrutinizing known risks, and evaluating potential strategic and tactical responses. Recent studies have included examinations of al Qaeda, the Afghan insurgency, and Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Shootings at airports are nothing new, writes Brian Michael Jenkins. In fact, they have regularly occurred worldwide in recent years. The motives have included terrorism, crime, and mental illness.
To ensure the Department of Homeland Security makes progress in the current constrained budget environment, its new secretary must put in place a strategic perspective to guide priorities for how to address the country's most pressing problems in disaster management, immigration reform, cybersecurity, violent extremism, and nuclear terrorism.
The Shabab terrorist attack at Westgate Mall in Kenya and its follow-up attacks in the country are a stark reminder that the Somalia-based group poses a threat to the United States and its interests in East Africa, writes Seth G. Jones.
The recent decision to close 19 U.S. embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Africa because of intelligence indicating terrorist planning for unspecific attacks underscores the need to continue focusing attention and resources on the danger al-Qaida and its affiliates pose to the United States and its allies.
Although the risk of a debilitating cyberattack is real, the perception of that risk is far greater than it actually is, writes Martin Libicki. In fact, a major cyberattack of the kind intelligence officials fear has not taken place in the 21 years since the Internet became accessible to the public.
The escalating war in Syria presents a growing threat to the Middle East and the West more broadly. Led by groups like Jabhat al-Nusra (the Victory Front), an al-Qaeda-affiliated organization, Syria is becoming a training ground for foreign fighters and a microcosm of sectarian conflict.
There is, at present, no known terrorist group in the United States that has the organization and human resources to assemble an operation of the complexity and scale of the Mumbai attack, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
The best way to safeguard U.S. diplomatic missions abroad is to think hard up front about the purpose of the mission and to constantly reassess it in light of changing conditions, writes William Young.
The fact is that the United States needs to gear up for the coming era of cyber threats — and start by ensuring its financial flank is not catastrophically compromised, writes Mark Sparkman.
The lesson here is not that countries should act for the sake of maintaining credibility but that they should act when they believe it serves their interests and might make a difference, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.
The effectiveness of our attacks, particularly by drones, has already decimated the al Qaeda hierarchy, writes Harold Brown. That achievement, together with the negative effect on Muslim publics of drone attacks, suggests that the rate of their usage could be moderated.
Involvement can transform members of the public from helpless bystanders into active participants in their own defense, thereby reducing fear and alarm, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
Basing public safety decisions on risk analysis allows authorities to devote public resources to those counterterrorism measures that have the potential to do the most good, writes Henry Willis.
The swift march into Mali by a band of Islamist thugs demonstrates an efficient, opportunistic filling of a security vacuum more than an increase in jihadist power or influence, writes Andy Liepman.
While the event in Russia was caused by a medium-sized (10,000-ton) meteor, larger objects, like the asteroid 2012 DA14 that also passed near Earth last week, have the potential to be significantly more damaging, write Dave Baiocchi and William Welser.
As Secretary of State Kerry and former senator Chuck Hagel outline their thinking on the nation's strategy, let us hope that they both hold firm to the strategy that has served us well in the past and have the courage to explore a very different set of political and military ways to accomplish it, write Lynn Davis and Andrew Hoehn.
Last week's terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas complex in Algeria, along with the recent success of the militant groups fighting government forces in Mali, indicate al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are gaining influence in North Africa. RAND experts weigh in on the latest developments.
There is a danger in viewing Mali through the prism of counter-terrorism, since the rebel element there is tangled up in movements and groups with a wide variety of interests and motives, ranging from sincere religious conviction to local political rivalries to base economic opportunism, writes Michael Shurkin.
Understanding when the United States should engage in cyberwar and who should approve cyberattacks requires understanding that cyberwar has multiple personalities: operational, strategic, and that great gray area in-between., writes Martin Libicki.